M’sia PM Mahathir: I’m not required to consult the Cabinet on key appointments
He reasoned that the Federal Constitution needed to be changed first.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has declared he will continue to appoint people to key roles unilaterally.
He said this on Tuesday, June 11, in the wake of the stir caused by his appointment of human rights lawyer Latheefa Beebi Koya as head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), The Star reported.
“I am not required to consult the Cabinet”
Mahathir previously made his appointment of Latheefa personally without consulting the Cabinet.
Prime-Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim had stated that such a move was in contravention of both the MACC act and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s own election manifesto.
“I am not required to consult the Cabinet. I can ask for opinions from various people and then I will decide based on the merits of the case.”
Parliamentary Select Committee needs Constitution to be changed for it to work
According to The Star, Mahathir said that changes to the Federal Constitution were required if the decision for key appointments was to be made by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) instead.
On top of that, this was also compounded by how changes to the Constitution could only be done if the government had held a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
“We intend to have the PSC, but to do that (decide on key appointments), we need to change some provisions in the Constitution.
And to do that, we need a two-thirds majority; the government currently does not have a two-thirds majority.”
Mahathir added that it was for these reasons that,”we go with the old way of making appointments, that is, ‘the Prime Minister decides’.”
Parliamentary Select Committee to seek meeting with Mahathir to clarify their role
The chairman of the PSC, William Leong, stated on June 9 that the PSC would seek a meeting with Mahathir to better clarify their role, The Star further reported.
Leong added that the Committee needed to understand how it could proceed, while still being guided by the election manifesto.
Additionally, apart from Latheefa, the PSC was also in the dark about the key appointments of the Chief Justice and Inspector General of Police.
Anwar calls for Mahathir’s decision to be accepted
Meanwhile, despite raising his concerns, Anwar called for the support of Mahathir’s decision within PH as of June 10, The Star highlighted.
He added that the reactions from the ruling coalitions and NGOs could negatively impact the PH government.
Expressing confidence in Mahathir, Anwar stated:
“I am confident that Dr Mahathir and the Pakatan leadership will conscientiously evaluate all views and subsequently explain to the Cabinet and Pakatan presidential council.
Therefore, I urge all partners to accept Dr Mahathir’s decision and give space to Latheefa and the MACC to do their duties in a stern and effective manner.”
For his part, Mahathir has stated that his relationship with Anwar remains strong.
When asked about Anwar’s earlier stance to question him regarding Latheefa’s appointment, Mahathir replied:
“Our relationship is good, I do not have any problem with him. He has the right to raise the question and I have my right to answer.”
More details about Latheefa’s appointment:
Top image from Mahathir Mohamad Facebook